The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus kicked off this year’s March for Life events with a May 9 press conference. Participating were 11 MPs including the three PPLC co-chairs, Paul Steckle (Lib, Huron-Bruce), Maurice Vellacott (CA, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) and Elsie Wayne (PC, Saint John). Jason Kenney (CA, Calgary Southeast) also spoke, giving the pro-life message in French and Garry Breitkreuz (CA, Yorkton-Melville) was also given the floor to promote his motion on defining “human being” in the Criminal Code. It was scheduled for debate within two weeks of the march. Paul Szabo (Lib, Mississauga South), the most vocal Liberal opposing embryonic stem cell research, wrapped up the press conference with comments about the government’s reproductive technology bill which had been introduced in Parliament earlier that same day.

Five other PPLC members of Parliament attended the press conference to show their opposition to abortion: David Anderson (CA, Cyprus Hills-Grasslands), Dr. Grant Hill (CA, Macleod), Monte Solberg (CA, Medicine Hat), Myron Thompson (CA, Wild Rose), Tom Wappel (Lib, Scarborough Southwest). The only media coverage of the press conference known to The Interim was by CTV, which included a caption of Mr. Szabo’s comments in a report on the reproductive technology bill.

Vellacott opened the press conference by talking about the importance of choice for the unborn: “I believe it’s crucial to have people who will speak up for those little women in the womb,” he said. “We know that if they were asked to speak, they would choose life. Today I stand up with my colleagues here to speak up for those women and men who have never been given the opportunity to choose.”

Wayne and Steckle both noted that Canada is commemorating the 20th anniversary of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms this year.

Wayne said she believed that when the Charter was drafted, “it was drafted also to give rights to that unborn child. Certainly I don’t think that at any time anyone ever thought that little child in the womb was not to have any rights, or anyone to care for him.” She was resolute in her comments, saying that pro-life Parliamentarians are not going to give up. “We’ll continue to fight until we know that the laws are there to protect it.”

Steckle decried that the “application” of the Charter leaves many people unprotected. He referred both to the unborn and young children, asking in reference to the recent Robin Sharpe child pornography decision, “What rights do children have? I don’t believe we have rights in this country until those rights are given back to those children; (until) we protect those young people who cannot yet speak for themselves.” He urged Canadians to be public about their pro-life views and to make their concerns known to their politicians.

Speaking French, Kenney said that he and his pro-life colleagues were joining with the thousands of Canadians he anticipated on Parliament Hill the next day for the March for Life “to express our conviction that all human beings, from conception to natural death, deserve to be protected by the law.” He also urged amendments to the government’s reproductive technology bill to ban embryonic stem cell research.